Chi-Town Adventures

My bucket list 2017 Chicago trip is complete! While we had to make some last minute adjustments to accommodate an afternoon in the ER, it was a wonderful vacation filled with friends, family, food, music, and love.

Your Obedient Servant, A. Ham

We flew in Thursday morning and were fortunate enough to stay at the Palmer House, which is just half a block from the Private Bank Theater where Hamilton is currently playing in Chicago. Thursday was a sightsee (from the car) and settle in day (the theme of this trip was slow and steady wins the race).

IMG_5904Tim spent Friday channeling his inner Ferris at the Art Institute of Chicago, just a block away, while I caught some much needed rest before the show. Hamilton was just incredible. We had fourth row seats and the cast, music, and staging was amazing. As the song says, it blew us all away.

Despite my slowed pace, we did plenty of touring in the car through the city, catching some iconic museum and park views and enjoying the gorgeous weather. We learned on our arrival that it happened to be Pride Fest in Chicago that weekend, and we would have also enjoyed taking in the parade and the special celebration at Navy Pier. But my body wasn’t quite up to the physical demands of that much walking, so we sat it out this time.

My AH Crew

We spent Saturday in Arlington Heights so I could see (and show off) my hometown. We probably could have spent another full day there exploring, as things have changed so much. Of course we made a critical stop at Portillo’s for an authentic Chicago hot dog (so much better than the East Coast version – sorry NY system lovers). And deep dish Lou Malnati’s pizza was also consumed before heading back East. Chicago food goals=complete.

Arlington Heights friends

Wonderful friends from my youth (Back row, left to right – Jen, Amy, Mandy, Elizabeth, Me, Paul/Punky, and Jane; Front row, left to write – Susan, Mary, Michelle, and Phyllis).

On Sunday, my dear friend Susan and my mom threw a party in my honor with a bunch of my childhood friends out at my mom’s house in Huntley. The day was absolutely my favorite part of the trip (with apologies to A. Ham). I saw many special friends from grade school and high school, and it was so much fun to catch up on everyone’s lives and look through the old pictures that they were kind enough to bring along. I’m so grateful that they travelled to see me and that Tim got the chance to meet these special people in my life.

Family also stopped by and I had the chance to see my Uncle Ray, his partner Mary, my cousin Morgan, and my Aunt Sandy and Uncle Marvin (who were fresh from their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Iowa). I don’t get to see these folks very often (and for Tim, it was a first), so it was an added treat.

Home Again

We canceled the Milwaukee leg of our trip in favor of spending Monday afternoon in the Huntley ER. Although I missed meeting up with a few good friends, it turned out to be a good decision; I needed the fluids and electrolyte boost to get back home safely and comfortably. We returned to Connecticut late Tuesday night, woke up early for scheduled bloodwork on Wednesday, and then hit Yale late Friday morning for the lumbar puncture procedure (to check my spinal fluid for signs of leptomeningeal metastases). That went smoothly and I’m awaiting results, but due to the holiday weekend we may not hear anything until Wednesday, 7/5. I’ll keep everyone posted on the results and plan of action.

What’s Next?

My lovely sister Marlo is coming to visit this week (yay)! We may or may not get a bucket list item off the list (read: tattoos) if my oncologist doesn’t have any objections and my chemo-related side effects decide to settle down a bit. My white cell counts are good so I’m hoping it’s a go from that perspective. Cas and I also have a matching tattoo date coming up. Jasper will of course remain ink-free for now, and he is having a blast visiting his best friend Nick for a good chunk of the summer.

11 thoughts on “Chi-Town Adventures

  1. Paula. It was so wonderful to see you in Huntley and meet Tim. Always great to see your mom. Glad to hear you are home safely. Great trip and I love the way you write to tell about it! Keep us posted. Love and hugs ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jack Kerouac got nothing on you!! Though you may both have shared a road trip or two with ER pit stops and certainly the poetic description of your authentic American journey. I hope you were able to enjoy. Nothing like a good lumbar puncture to welcome you home! Look forward to the next tale of the road!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A Limerick for your Chi-town bucket list:

    Your trip sounds like it just hit the spot!
    Like Hamilton, don’t throw away your shot!
    The ER for some fluid?
    No biggie- just screw it-
    You’re amazing- for real- I just cannot.

    Liked by 1 person

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